Any suicidal thought is a risk. Help is always available. HealthWest's 24/7 crisis line is (231) 722-HELP. Anyone with a mental health concern can also walk into our offices at 376 E. Apple Ave., during business hours for an assessment. If there is an immediate fear of death or injury, please call 911.

Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
(800) 273-TALK (8255)

Crisis Text Line:
Text Home to 741741

Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio
(888) 628-9454

LGBTQ Youth Hotline
(866) 488-7386

Suicide Hotline for Deaf & Hard of Hearing
(800) 799-4889

 

HealthWest to test all adult foster care, congregate living facility residents and staff for COVID-19

HealthWest staff will test all residents and staff of Muskegon County adult foster cares, group homes, and similar congregate living facilities for COVID-19.

 

Testing will begin Monday, July 13, and will take about a week to complete. Nearly 1,000 tests are expected to be conducted.

 

“Residents of these facilities are at an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 and are often more likely to experience severe symptoms,” said HealthWest Executive Director Julia Rupp. “We are dedicated to doing anything we can to help protect the individuals we serve and Muskegon County.”

 

The testing coincides with an emergency order signed July 1 by Muskegon Public Health Officer Kathy Moore, requiring the testing of residents and direct care workers at these facilities. While these facilities have been following state guidelines and best medical practices during the COVID-19 outbreak, this testing will serve as another line of defense in the fight against the virus.

 

“COVID-19 has the potential to spread quickly in these facilities, and direct care workers often work at multiple homes, increasing the chance for an outbreak,” said Moore. “This testing will help us protect some of Muskegon County’s most vulnerable residents.”

 

Any resident who refuses testing will be monitored for symptoms.

 

Testing will be conducted by HealthWest’s nursing staff, which is specially trained to work with individuals living in these facilities who may have developmental disabilities, mental health challenges, or substance use issues.

 

HealthWest nurses previously conducted testing at some area congregate living facilities in late April and have routinely worked with Public Health – Muskegon County during large community testing events like those in Muskegon Heights and Oakridge schools.

 

“Our nurses and many other HealthWest staff members have continuously volunteered to join the front lines in the fight against this disease,” said Rupp. “While our staff is outfitted with the necessary personal protective equipment, their willingness to confront COVID-19 head-on and serve their community has been inspiring.”

 

HealthWest has also continued to provide mental health, developmental disability, and substance use services during the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, including a virtual group program to assist community members who may be struggling during the pandemic. To learn more about HealthWest and its offerings, visit www.HealthWest.net/COVID-19.